Coronavirus outbreak at Gary Glitter’s Dorset prison sends infection rate skyrocketing


A coronavirus outbreak in the prison of pedophile pop star Gary Glitter has spiked the local town’s infection rate to one of the highest in the country.

Underhill and The Grove – a council area on the Isle of Portland in Dorset, home to HMP The Verne where the 76-year-old is locked up – recorded 927 cases per 100,000 people last week.

Only four areas of England saw larger outbreaks in the week ending February 20, according to Department of Health data which breaks down the country into 7,000 areas based on postcode.

And the infection rate in this small area of ​​Dorset is 10 times higher than the rate for the county as a whole.

The BBC reported that 120 inmates at the Category C prison tested positive during the outbreak and some prison officers are currently self-isolating.

It’s unclear if Glitter himself is infected, but he was reportedly vaccinated against the virus earlier this month.

At 76, the sex offender, real name Paul Gadd, was offered a vaccine because of his age – prisoners are not knocked down the list because of their incarceration.

Gary Glitter is being held, has caused the surrounding local area – Underhill and The Grove – to have a significantly higher infection rate than the surrounding area. (Area shown in dark purple, near the word Easton). The region’s case rate is more than 10 times higher than that of Dorset as a whole” class=”blkBorder img-share” style=”max-width:100%” />

A spike in coronavirus cases at The Verne, the prison where Gary Glitter is being held, has caused the surrounding local area – Underhill and The Grove – to have a significantly higher infection rate than the surrounding area. (Area shown in dark purple, near the word Easton). The region’s case rate is more than 10 times higher than that of Dorset as a whole

La Verne has a maximum capacity of 580 inmates and recorded 120 cases of coronavirus during its recent outbreak

La Verne has a maximum capacity of 580 inmates and recorded 120 cases of coronavirus during its recent outbreak

Department of Health data shows that the 927 cases per 100,000 recorded in Underhill and The Grove were lower than only four other areas, in London, Cambridgeshire, Hull and Leeds.

The worst affected areas had rates ranging from 928 per 100,000 to 1,181 per 100,000 and ranked highest out of 6,791 local areas.

Now the area in which The Verne is located has a significantly higher rate of infection than areas around it in rural Dorset.

Neighbors Southwell & Weston have a rate of just 110 by comparison, with the nearest parts of the mainland near Weymouth having so few cases they don’t even have recorded infection rates.

Former pop star <a class=Gary Glitter, 76 – real name Paul Gadd – is serving 16 years in prison for multiple sex offenses” class=”blkBorder img-share” style=”max-width:100%” />

Former pop star Gary Glitter, 76 – real name Paul Gadd – is serving 16 years in prison for multiple sex offenses

And the rate for Underhill and The Grove is more than 10 times that of Dorset as a whole, which stood at 78 per 100,000 at last count.

Prisons are difficult environments to control the virus as people are herded together and cannot avoid each other.

Guards generally do not live on site and can therefore bring the virus into the prison, where it can be difficult or risky to separate people for quarantine and to maintain strict hygiene standards.

Glitter is serving a 16-year sentence behind bars for attempted rape, indecent assault and sexual intercourse with a child under 13.

The former pop star has been held in La Verne since 2018 and could be released on parole this year.

He was first jailed in 1999 after pleading guilty to 54 offenses for taking indecent photos of children under 16.

The singer was disgraced two years prior when a computer technician discovered thousands of child pornography images on his laptop while servicing it.

Glitter was then imprisoned in Vietnam in 2006 for sexually abusing two Vietnamese girls aged 10 and 11. After being released in 2008, he was convicted of child molestation offenses for the third time in 2015 and was jailed for 16 years.

LOOPHOLE COULD GET JABS TO INMATES BEFORE THE PROGRAM

Prisoners could skip the queue for coronavirus vaccinations when the next phase of the rollout begins – but teachers will be forced to wait, he revealed last night.

A potential loophole for criminals has been revealed as officials prepare to release their recommendations on the priority list for adults under 50.

Key workers such as teachers, who are due to return to schools on March 8, are unlikely to find themselves in the queue.

But it is understood that local areas will have the ability to vaccinate prisoners in large groups if necessary to facilitate exercise while the wider population is likely to receive shots depending on age.

This is not a formal recommendation from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunization (JCVI), which establishes the suggested order of priority for injections.

But a government source said it was an informal directive. However, there was confusion last night over exactly what policy will be adopted after health officials insisted prisoners would be beaten in age groups.

Any indication that an entire prison population can be bitten at the same time opens up the possibility of inmates being vaccinated before the general public.

A Department of Health spokesperson said: “Prisoners will not be prioritized for vaccination. They are vaccinated according to the priority groups defined by the independent JCVI – no faster and no further than the general public.

“The deployment of vaccines in prisons will continue to follow this independent advice.”

When asked what was driving up rates at Underhill and The Grove, which has a maximum capacity of 580 inmates, officials pointed to an outbreak at The Verne.

A spokesperson for Public Health Dorset told MailOnline: “We are aware of confirmed cases of Covid at The Verne.

“Prison and public health authorities are working closely together to ensure that all necessary infection prevention and control measures are in place to protect and support both residents and staff.

“It remains vital that all members of the public continue to follow the rules, stay home where possible, self-isolate and get tested if they develop symptoms.”

A Prison Service spokesperson said: “Our priority is to limit the spread of the virus and to protect the lives of those who live and work in our prisons.

“We have taken precautionary measures at Verne, in accordance with public health guidelines, and will continue to monitor the situation closely.”

Although prisoners are not officially prioritized for vaccines, councils may choose to immunize them to prevent outbreaks, which means they skip the queue.

Key workers such as teachers, who are due to return to schools on March 8, are unlikely to find themselves in the queue.

But it is understood that local areas will have the ability to vaccinate prisoners in large groups if necessary to facilitate exercise while the wider population is likely to receive shots depending on age.

This is not a formal recommendation from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunization (JCVI), which establishes the suggested order of priority for injections.

But a government source said it was an informal directive. However, there was confusion last night over exactly what policy will be adopted after health officials insisted prisoners would be beaten in age groups.

Any indication that an entire prison population can be bitten at the same time opens up the possibility of inmates being vaccinated before the general public.

A Department of Health spokesperson said: “Prisoners will not be prioritized for vaccination. They are vaccinated according to the priority groups defined by the independent JCVI – no faster and no further than the general public.

“The deployment of vaccines in prisons will continue to follow this independent advice.”

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